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#MOGADISHUTALKS: Farmaajo, FMS leaders differ on voter numbers, role of NIEC

Storyline:National News

Ongoing electoral talks in Mogadishu Tuesday took a break with no agreement yet among the country’s top leadership as the two sides are yet to agree on some of the contentious issues.

The talks which opened on Sunday aim at finding an acceptable and practicable electoral formula for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Goobjoog News has learnt that three issues stand in the way of a pact as the country runs out of time to prepare for an election.

One of the key issues is the management of the elections which Villa Somalia wants it left to the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC). The Commission headed by Halima Yarey announced in July it would not deliver a one-person-one-vote election noting it needed up to 13 months to be ready for the exercise.

The earliest Somalia would go for elections, NIEC said was March 2021 on condition that parliament amends the Elections Act to allow for manual voter registration.

Federal Member States, notably Jubbaland and Puntland, both of which boycotted the Dhusamareb 3 talks want Halima Yarey and her team to watch from the bench as a temporary body, just like in the 2016/17 elections conduct the exercise alongside FMS electoral bodies.

Another contentious issue is the number of delegates or voters to elect individual MPs. The Dhusamareb Model favoured by Villa Somalia and was endorsed by HirShabelle, Galmudug, South West and Banaadir Regional Administration contemplates the participation of 301 voters translating to over 80,000 voters who will elect the 275-member Lower House.

Both Deni and Madobe have expressed reservations just like some political parties have and proposed the number be between 100 and 150.

The Dhusamareb Model envisages that voting take place in at least four locations in each Federal Member State to enhance citizen participation. However, Jubbaland and Puntland and some of the other FMS leaders want the exercise to be held only within the capital cities.

But sources in the meeting told Goobjoog News Farmaajo’s main objection of these proposals is that they are indicative of no progress since the 2016/17. Keen on his legacy, Farmaajo could be concerned that the near adoption of the 2016 model would not augur well as it shows he has not made any progress to move the country forward. “This would be a failure on your part and mine,” Farmaajo reportedly told the leaders.

The talks are expected to resume from today.